In2005 the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) published a studyshowing a strong correlation between substance abuse treatment and crime.
Additionally, the Treatment Research Institute at the University ofPennsylvania (2005) reported that substance abuse treatment seemed to lead to largereductions in crime and drug use as well as being able to function physicallyand socially at a higher level than normal. For many who need alcohol and drugtreatment, contact with the criminal justice system is their first opportunityfor treatment and possibly their first occasion to be diagnosed with a substanceabuse problem. Unfortunately, more intensive treatment is needed for offenderswho are in a recurring cycle of crime and drug abuse.
Research suggests thataddicted offenders commit fewer crimes during periods of non-use. Studies ofoffender populations have shown that cessation of and continued abstinence fromdrug use is linked to reduced rates of reoffending and re-arrest. Rather thanfocusing on populations that are sporadic users of illegal drugs, it may bemore effective for criminal justice programs to focus their resources onpreventing continued drug abuse by highuse offenders or concentrating onserious juvenile offenders that are at risk of delinquency and future adultcriminality (CSAT, 2005). Increased use of drug treatment within the criminaljustice system, whether it is mandated treatment through drug courts oroptional treatment through transitional and aftercare programs, has been shownto reduce re-arrest and new arrest rates, as well as drug use. State prisonerparticipation in drug treatment programs increased from 34.3 percent in 1997 to39.
2 percent in 2004, coinciding with the continued decrease in crime rates.Although drug treatment in prison or jail can be a means of reducing thechances that a person will commit crime in the future, community-basedtreatment is more effective and helps people reintegrate themselves into thecommunity. An in-depth study of a Delaware prison revealed that compared toin-prison drug treatment, a transitional program composed of a combination ofwork release, drug treatment, and aftercare services provided a more effectiveenvironment for successful prisoner reentry. Five years after the completion ofthis program, 59.6 percent of those who graduated from the 3 after care programhad no new arrests, and 47.8 percent did not return to prison or jail (JusticePolicy Institute, 2008)